Wordsworths Summer House


During our trip to the Lake District we visited Rydal Mount which was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850. It was while living at Rydal that Wordsworth penned his most loved and well known poems. So I was rather excited to find that his summer house, where he would sit and compose his poetry (whilst staring out at the beautiful gardens) was still intact and available to view.

So after a tour of the house including his attic study (sorry, no pics, you’re not allowed to) I was desperate to get out into the garden and see where the great man did most of his writing. The summer house was well hidden up a steep bank (lots of tiny twisting paths) and when we finally stumbled across it I was shocked. I’m not too sure what I was expecting to be honest, but it wasn’t this:

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Of course we sat in there and looked out at the view. You can just about see Lake Windermere in the distance, but in Wordsworths time the view probably would have been slightly better, due to less/smaller trees.

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The Wordsworth’s daughter Dora loved her fathers Daffodil poem, so when she died Mr & Mrs Wordsworth (both in their late 70’s) personally planted a whole field adjacent to Rydal with hundreds and hundreds of Daffodil bulbs. It’s now known as Dora’s Field and must look incredible during Spring.

The Daffodils

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Published at Rydal Mount, 1815.

Did I feel inspired? No, not really. It’s definitely a gorgeous place, but I’m often shocked at the meagre surroundings of some of the great writers. The following day we went to Beatrix Potters house and saw her desk/bureau where she wrote and drew her characters. It was tiny and not what I expected at all. And then take Rudyard Kipling…I’ve been to his house several times and his office was pretty unimpressive too lol. Do well known/successful modern writers prefer their writing spaces to be simplistic do you think? I will need to Google this and see what James Pattersons office looks like, or Stephen Kings lol.

If money was no object would you have an impressive office (huge desk, opulent surroundings) or do you think there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple?